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PartnerRe profits fall by two thirds

PartnerRe’s third-quarter profit dropped by two-thirds to $180.1 million. The Bermuda reinsurer also announced a loss of $502.6 million for the first nine months of the year after catastrophe losses in excess of $1 billion. The company’s chief executive officer Costas Miranthis said: “We had respectable third quarter results overall, with a 10.3 percent annualised operating return on equity, which is below our long term ROE goal, but reasonable given the current low interest rate environment. “The third quarter benefited from the absence of large catastrophic losses, and also from the fact that reported losses were considerably lower than expectations, resulting in favourable reserve development. “Results were negatively impacted, however, by an increase in our provisions for the earthquake events of the first quarter. This increase reflects our revised view of ultimate losses incorporating most recently available information including cedants’ own estimate of loss.” Mr Miranthis was hopeful of a strengthening in the market as 2012 approaches. “As we approach the January 1 renewals, we are cautiously optimistic about market trends,” Mr Miranthis said. “We are beginning to see price increases in many lines, particularly short tail lines, as well as increased demand for reinsurance. “Our strong capital base positions us well to take advantage of any opportunities. We will assess such opportunities, as well as other capital management alternatives, with the objective of maximising the growth of our economic value per share over the medium term.” PartnerRe said its book value of $85.26 per share was up two percent for the quarter and down nine percent in the year through September 30. Third quarter net income broke down to $2.43 per share compared to $524.9 million, or $6.76 per share in the third quarter of last year. Operating earnings were $164.5 million, or $2.41 per share, compared to $301.6 million, or $3.95 per share, for the third quarter of 2010. Net premiums written were up nine percent in the third quarter, or two percent on a constant foreign exchange basis, to $1.1 billion primarily related to new business and increased treaty participations. These increases were partially offset by the effect of the company’s decisions in prior quarters to cancel and non-renew business in order to reposition its portfolios, and also reflects a continued competitive pricing environment in many markets. For the first nine months of 2011, net premiums written were down seven percent to $3.6 billion across all sub-segments, except for the North America sub-segment and Life segment. The company’s non-life combined ratio was 93.1 percent, including 16.5 points (or $178 million) of net adverse prior quarter loss development, which was primarily related to the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami, the February 2011 New Zealand earthquake and other mid-sized loss events that occurred during the first half of 2011, and 16.2 points (or $176 million) of net favourable loss development on prior accident years. For the first nine months of 2011, the non-life combined ratio was 126.7 percent and included 47.1 points, or $1.346 billion related to the 2011 catastrophic events. Net investment income was flat for the third quarter at $164 million primarily reflecting lower reinvestment rates, which was partially offset by the positive impact of foreign exchange of three percent. For the first nine months of 2011, net investment income was down seven percent to $474 million. Total shareholders’ equity was $6.7 billion at September 30, 2011 compared to $7.2 billion at December 31, 2010.

PartnerRe CEO Costas Miranthis